Cape Town - Chippa United will on Friday officially announce Kosta Papic as the club’s new head coach - and the Serbian’s opening challenge in the PSL is a home fixture against Platinum Stars in Philippi.
The PSL on Thursday released the fixtures for the opening week of next season, with the other team from the Mother City, Ajax Cape Town, kicking off with an away fixture against AmaZulu in Durban.
The season is set to commence on the weekend of August 8-10.
Chippa, after winning promotion to the top-flight last season, made no secret of the fact that they had learnt from their previous relegation campaign in the PSL. They emphasised that an experienced coach, with a proven track record, was fundamental to their plans.
Papic, who has coached both Soweto giants, Orlando Pirates and Kaizer Chiefs, is the man - at this stage, of course - who Chippa believe can lead them to respectability in the top-flight.
Last season, Papic coached Black Leopards, with whom he missed out on promotion in the play-offs last Sunday.
The Cape club, though, is notorious for quickly, and ruthlessly, dispensing of coaches, which is why, it would seem, Papic has only been offered a one-year deal.
Roger Sikhakhane, another ex-Chippa coach, will be Papic’s assistant.
The signing of the Serbian is a sign that Chippa mean business next season - and they have already beefed up their squad with striker David Zulu (from Leopards), the First Division’s top marksman last season, and Mpho Mvelase (from United FC).
Another experienced striker set to come on board soon is former Zambian captain, Christopher Katongo.
“I am happy,” Papic told reporters. “I will go home now and relax and come back after 15 days, and sit down and discuss to see what players we have and which players we will need.
“After that I will tell you where we want to finish next season. There is no pressure on my side, and they are not putting pressure on me. I know the history of Chippa and I will fight to make sure we do well.”
As for neighbours Ajax, the new season is definitely a critical one. After a few years in the doldrums, their loyal Cape following is running short of patience. It’s about time the club does justice to its potential.
But they’ve been done no favours with an opening fixture from hell. Not only have Ajax developed a reputation for being bad travellers, but they will also encounter a motivated AmaZulu side prepared by former Ajax coach, Craig Rosslee.
Ajax have signed Zimbabwean Milton Ncube, while striker Nathan Paulse extended his contract with the Parow-based club.
Last seasons champions Mamelodi Sundowns kick off against Maritzburg United, while Kaizer Chiefs are away to Free State Stars.